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DBB on 3: How the West is going to be won

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We’re down to four teams in the West, we talk predictions.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The first round of the Western Conference Playoffs went according to script for the top two seeds Houston and Golden State but not so for seeds 3 and 4 (Portland and Oklahoma City). The Rockets and Warriors are huge favorites to reach the Conference Finals but both the Jazz and Pelicans showed enough fight to hopefully make things interesting.

We asked our guys their predictions and also a question on the teams that didn’t make the cut.

1. Golden State vs New Orleans: who wins in how many and what’s the major storyline of the matchup?

Justin Lambregtse: I’ll be bold and go New Orleans in 7. I know how crazy this sounds, but New Orleans is playing some really good basketball right now and if Steph Curry does play in this series he is not going to be fully healthy. If the long layoff between series kills the momentum New Orleans has right now then they stand no chance. Anthony Davis’ dominance would be the storyline.

Ryan Pravato: Wait a minute -- where’s my prize for being the only DBB-head to pick the Pelicans over the Blazers!?!

Anyway, I’m going with the Warriors in 7 in this super competitive series. Kevin Durant will be just enough of a nightmare to get on by the Pellies.

Steve Hinson: Golden State in 6. The major storyline will revolve around Anthony Davis and Golden State containing him. That first round AD put up was historic - the only other player to average 30/10/2/2 in a playoff series was Hakeem in 1988 (the Rockets were actually bounced in the first round that year, pretty nuts). Playoff Davis has been awesome, I hope we get more of him. But Playoff Golden State looks pretty unstoppable.

David Fernandez: GS in 5 - gentleman’s sweep.

2. Houston vs Utah: who wins in how many and what’s the major storyline of the matchup?

Justin Lambregtse: Houston in 6. Utah will put up a fight, but they don’t have enough to beat Houston yet. The storyline will be Donovan Mitchell continuing his rise to superstardom (this is very painful to write.)

Ryan Pravato: I picked the Jazz to lose in round one, and I’m going to do it again for round two even though I’m rooting for them. Rockets in 6. The Rockets have more efficient firepower and aren’t the Thunder. This spells trouble for the Jazz, especially if Ricky Rubio is hobbled.

Steve Hinson: The ultimate offense versus defense matchup, of course. I’d love to take the defensive-oriented underdog, but I just don’t see how it could work. Probably going to be Rockets in 5.

David Fernandez: HOU in 5 - too much firepower and too much James Harden for the Jazz to handle.

3. Of the Western teams that lost in the first round whose off season do you find the most intriguing?

Justin Lambregtse: Portland. I think they are going to have to break up the CJ McCollum-Damian Lillard backcourt to create a roster that is better suited for the playoffs. OKC will also have a crazy offseason with Paul George likely leaving and possibly Carmelo too.

Ryan Pravato: T-Wolves. In a lot of ways they are like the Pistons: mediocrity driven and very few young pieces to build on. There’s an obvious limit for this team as currently constructed. Probably need to seriously think about what they could get for Wiggins.

Steve Hinson: The Thunder, absolutely. So many question marks there. Does Paul George really leave for a 35 win team whose best talent is pretty redundant with him and is years away from contending, if ever? If not, does he stay in OKC? What the hell do they do with Melo? Westbrook turns 30 next season so they need to keep going all-in. Especially if PG leaves, do they have the goods to go all-in enough? If not...do you consider trading him?

David Fernandez: I’m extremely intrigued to see how the Thunder bounce back this off-season (if they can bounce back at all). What does Paul George do in free agency? How does OKC better incorporate Carmelo Anthony (knowing that he’s opting in to all that cash), or do they decide to buy him out? If they lose PG, then what? They’re running into a lot of the same issues Detroit is experiencing right now, they’re in cap hell, with a lack of first round picks to easily navigate out of their current middling situation.

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Not too many surprises there...well only one really. What are your predictions on winners and major story lines? Whose off season intrigues you the most? Copy paste and leave your answers below.

1. Golden State vs New Orleans: who wins in how many and what’s the major storyline of the matchup?

2. Houston vs Utah: who wins in how many and what’s the major storyline of the matchup?

3. Of the Western teams that lost in the first round whose off season do you find the most intriguing?